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Music Industry Independent Case Study XL Recordings.

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1 Music Industry Independent Case Study XL Recordings

2 XL Recordings is a British independent record label which was launched by Tim Palmer, Nick Halkes and Richard Russell in 1989.independent record labelNick HalkesRichard Russell It began as ‘rave’ label during the acid house craze of the late 80s. In the last 15 years it has grown into one of the most influential and diverse independent labels in the world.

3 XL- early days During the early nineties, XL Recordings releases were dance orientated ranging techno to Breakbeat hardcore and drum and bass. technoBreakbeat hardcore XL were responsible for signing The Prodidy who released their first singles and first album with them.

4 Radiohead and XL Radiohead became one of the biggest selling acts in the world in the early 90s. They were signed to EMI and released two albums that were number 1 in the USA (‘The Bends’ and ‘OK Computer’). Radiohead have always been steadfastly independent in their thinking and didn’t like being controlled by a big label like EMI. EMI criticised there next two much more experimental albums which didn’t sell as well. ‘Kid A’ was one of the first albums to be leaked on Napster. This led to Radiohead eventually leaving EMI and moving to XL in 2007, over ten years since they had been first signed to EMI. Once on XL, Radiohead felt greater freedoms to experiment both musically but also in the marketing of their material. The release of their first XL album ‘In Rainbows’ was made available online only. This was made more unusual by the bands request not to set a fixed price for the album. The band asked their fans to pay ‘what they felt’ to be the right price, which of course could’ve been 1 pence! 1.2 million downloads were reportedly sold on the day of release.

5 XL- diverse and inventive In the late 90s/early noughties, Russell broadened the musical horizons of the label whilst maintaining a credo of working with artists he saw as original and inventive. XL signed artists and released albums in this period that were deemed to be groundbreaking in a number of genres, including Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Boy in Da Corner’ and the White Stripes ‘White Blood Cells’. In recent years the label has signed acts as diverse as indie dance band Friendly Fires, grime artist Giggs, electro fusion artist MIA and re-signed 65 year old jazz poet Gils Scott Heron.

6 XL and the internet There is a focus on harnessing the beneficial aspects of the internet on XL; for example, the XL Recordings homepage is an automated aggregator for all XL-related content with links to each artist's own news page. Fans can check up on all the latest news about their favorite artists with just one mouse-click. Russell says that labels are increasingly worried about diminishing profits, using ageing business models to combat piracy. Major labels would not give their artists the creative freedom that XL has given its artists. There is a stress on personal attention to artists at XL that may be missing at a major label, and Richard Russell has summed up the future as such: "we (XL) will continue to be hungry for new artists and ready to put out exciting music that will challenge fans".

7 XL artists


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